Joint Media Release
Senator Chris Ellison
Minister for Justice & Customs
Senator Amanda Vanstone
Minister for Immigration, Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs
19 December 2003
Asfoor people-smuggling verdict welcomedThe Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and the Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, have welcomed the guilty verdict handed down today in the case of people smuggler Keis Abdul Al Rahim Asfoor - the most significant people smuggling trial in Australia to date (1700 people aboard 13 vessels).
Asfoor was alleged to have organised for 13 vessels carrying approximately 1700 people to enter Australia between August 1999 and September 2001.
Asfoor was arrested by the Australian Federal Police in Perth in October 2001. He was found guilty in the Perth District Court today of 12 charges under section 232A of the Migration Act 1958 (organisation or facilitation of unlawful arrivals - five or more persons), which carries a 20-year custodial sentence. Asfoor also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a false passport.
Asfoor has been remanded in custody for sentencing on Thursday 29 January 2004 in the Perth District Court.
Senator Ellison said that the AFP/DIMIA People Smuggling Strike Team (PSST) conducted an extensive investigation into Asfoor's alleged activities and was assisted by AFP Liaison officers based in Indonesia who worked closely with the Indonesian National Police.
"The Australian Government will take all steps possible to ensure the criminals behind the abhorrent practice of people-smuggling will be brought to justice, wherever they are in the world," Senator Vanstone said.
Asfoor has been in custody in Perth since his arrest in Perth for these offences, with his trial commencing in the Perth District Court on November 3 2003.
This case is the first of a number of significant prosecutions of this nature currently underway:
Media Inquiries: Simon Troeth (02) 6277 7260/(0439) 300 335 http://www.ag.gov.au/www/justiceministerHome.nsf